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A Full Week of Batman
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 05, 2014   |   Episode 48 (Show Archive)  


If the streets have been a little less violent than usual, it could be because the Caped Crusader is on the prowl. This is Batman week, a time for us to see what old school magazines thought of Batman. We flip through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Super Play and CVG to see what the critics thought of Batman: The Video Game (NES), Batman: Return of the Joker (NES) and Batman (Genesis). See for yourself if the critics fell in love with the Dark Knight.
Batman - The Video Game: What Did Critics Say Back in 1990?
[ System: NES | Pub: SunSoft | Release: 1990 | Show: Review Crew ]
Movie games have a reputation for being mediocre at best, but Batman: The Video Game is a rare exception. Oddly enough, Computer + Video Games disagreed. They called Batman a "bit of a letdown." They complained that the game takes liberty with the story and is only loosely based on the hit movie. Given how straightforward the movie was, it only makes sense that SunSoft would expand on the fiction by adding new bosses and levels. Nobody else agreed with CVG's assessment.

Speaking of odd complaints, Electronic Gaming Monthly's Steve Harris suggested that the dark graphics and backgrounds would "detract a bit from the overall appeal of the title." Fellow EGM critic Jim also noted the dark graphics, but was more concerned about the repetition. Still, he called the game "one of the best action games to appear in a long while." [SEE THE REVIEWS]

Batman - Return of the Joker: What Did Critics Say in 1991?
[ System: NES | Pub: SunSoft | Release: 1991 | Show: Review Crew ]
Although Batman: Return of the Joker received mixed reviews, most critics agreed that it looked spectacular. Electronic Gaming Monthly's Ed said the game was "almost 16-bit quality," and he's not far off. This was a late generation 8-bit release, so it was pulling off tricks nobody expected on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Beyond the "stunning" visuals, Return of the Joker ended up being a big disappointment. Nintendo Magazine System complained about the gameplay, saying it lacked originality. Sushi X argued that this could have been a game for any action star, as it barely has anything to do with the Dark Knight. [SEE THE REVIEWS]

Batman on Genesis: Did Critics Like the Dark Knight in 1991?
[ System: Genesis | Pub: SunSoft | Release: 1991 | Show: Review Crew ]
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After a full year of hype from every magazine covering Genesis games, Batman was destined to fall short of expectations. It's not the Caped Crusader's fault, as the only reason these magazines were so excited about Batman was because it looked like it wouldn't come to the United States. In the end, this was just another 2D action game with a popular movie license.

While not everybody agreed on why Batman was disappointing, most thought the game lacked challenge. "It's way too easy for committed and experienced platform gamers," argued Mean Machines. Mega Play agreed, but added that the gameplay is a little slow. "Sadly the Mega Drive's potential has been grossly underused," noted Raze in their first issue. It's too easy and too short, a depressing combination. [SEE THE REVIEWS]


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